Trip Checklist: Five Essential Items for the Best In-Flight Experiences
Long airplane rides can be tedious, especially when there are layovers. However, traveling is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and there are some things you can do to make sure you get the most fun out of your flight time.
A proper trip check can make a frustrating experience into a much more comfortable one, and make sure that you’re prepared for unexpected inconveniences.
Make it comfortable with the right clothing, convenience items that meet your personal needs, and entertainment tailored to your tastes. If you don’t know where to start, this list of five essential items for creating the best in-flight experiences can get you started.
Make sure you complete a thorough trip check before every flight and you’ll be breezing through those layovers and long flights.
Essential #1: Wear something comfortable
For straight, short jaunts across the country, clothing won’t matter as much. However, if you’ve got a two-hour layover and your pants are too tight, you’ll be in misery. Clothing issues are even more important if you’re on a 12-hour flight to Southeast Asia.
You want to be comfortable, because you have to sit, stand, and walk. Consider time spent in the airport, walking between baggage claim and your flight terminal, and tight conditions in the plane. Having the right clothing options means the difference between chafing and extended discomfiture or the ability to sleep properly on a flight.
The most important rule to remember here is to favor comfort. While there are stylish options to consider, you should definitely prefer function over form here. It does you no good to look your best while feeling your worst over an extended trip.
The good news is that a proper trip check and some forethought in your packing will make sure you feel and look good!
Comfortable Clothing Options for the Flight
Casual cargo pants with comfy slip-on shoes could be a good option for cross-country flights. Cargo pants aren’t so thin that you’ll be freezing or so loose that you’ll feel like you get snagged on everything (including the people sitting next to you!).
Something like sweat pants might leave you feeling vulnerable, but if you don’t mind, sweat pants or pajama pants make for a lighter option. You want something that won’t be too tight or uncomfortable. Jeans could be a bit tight for a cramped seat, and the constriction might feel awful after a couple hours.
Likewise, you don’t want something too heavy on your feet, because you won’t have much of a chance to stretch your legs out while in flight, and then you have to walk through the airports.
The idea for those longer trips is to wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable enough to sleep in, but also sturdy enough for the sometimes-lengthy walks between the plane and baggage, out the front doors, etc. Also remember that you will be traveling from the airport to your lodgings, whether it’s a home, a hotel, or the like.
You’ll want to be able to take a ride and unload your bags as well, and you may not have a chance to change before that. This is why we recommend something casual but rugged, like cargo or khaki pants, some light slip-on shoes, and a button-up shirt.
Cool, comfortable, but easy to throw a light jacket over it if you need the extra insulation. For women, leggings also make a good option, paired with ankle boots or classic sneakers that won’t restrict your movement but work everywhere.
You don’t have to sacrifice style for these options. Choose items from your wardrobe that will boost your confidence in your looks, as well. Think about the type of clothing and make sure you check the weather forecast for your destination. Clothing made from microfiber fabrics are good choices because they are wrinkle-resistant and they can help wick away body moisture.
Hoodies are easy to throw on or take off and sling over a shoulder, depending on your needs.
Essential #2: Bring Convenience Items
If you’re on a long flight and you know you’ll probably snooze, pack some earplugs and an eye mask. You’ll also need to decide what to do with your glasses. Pack a case for your glasses inside your carryon, or wear them around your neck on a loop if you need the extra space.
You might also want to consider bringing your own travel-sized pouch of tissues, and a good neck pillow could be essential to your comfort. A small blanket can help if you get chilly, but also is a relaxing option to help you sleep.
Shawls serve a similar function, and are easily stowed in a carryon when you don’t need them. Keep a pen in your carryon for filling out forms as you go through customs, too. If you plan to do any reading, a small bendable book light can provide some proper lighting to read by without disturbing your neighbors.
Essential #3: Bring Your Own Fun
Load up your tablet or iPhone with music, movies, and books to read. Make sure it has a full charge before you put it in your carryon. Keep your headphones close by, too, and if they’re wireless, make sure they’re charged as well.
Pick some favorites that will keep you entertained but also comforted by the familiarity. A plane isn’t usually the best time to try something new, but if it keeps your interest, it’s worth trying. You always want something that will keep you distracted from the stresses of the flight.
If you have anxiety about flying, you could also download a hypnosis track that could help manage your fears. There are also options like favorite ASMR videos (both to relax you and help you sleep, if desired), or relaxing nature tracks like crackling campfires or gentle ocean tides.
Handheld gaming, either by dedicated platforms or on your phone, is also a good outlet for idle hands, giving you stimulation and something to focus upon all at once.
Essential #4: Stay Fresh
If you’re on a long flight, you’ll be more comfortable if you can stay clean. Pack a cosmetic kit or Dopp bag with a good travel kit. Take all the toiletries you think you may need.
It’s a good idea to shave before the flight, but you may want to utilize lotions or baby powders to help, especially it you get cramped or find yourself sweating a lot during the trip. When it becomes necessary, take a moment in the bathroom to clean and pamper your skin.
This is also a good time to reapply deodorant using travel-sized deodorants (gels and sprays have to be 3.4 oz. or less, while stick deodorants can be standard-sized).
Scented lotions or roll-on essential oils, especially scents known to be relaxing, like lavender, are great options, but don’t apply them too liberally—consider your neighbors, too.
Essential #5: Get Enough Sleep, Stay Hydrated
You can’t bring bottled water or a filled water bottle through security. However, you can fill a favorite water bottle once you’ve passed through. This is a good idea, because you may find yourself getting thirsty and in-flight refreshments are expensive.
Staying hydrated is an important step in maintaining comfort levels; avoid headaches and reduce the chance of cramps by making sure you have enough water.
You’ll also want to be properly rested before your trip. Lacking sleep might make you think that it’s easier to sleep while on the flight, but it will increase your risk of headaches and other discomforts, as well as heightening any flight-related stresses.
Making sure you’re well-rested will help you stay calmer and more comfortable, both in-flight and in the disembarking that follows.